Sunday, November 24, 2013

Me and Aldaris (p22): Personality stuff.

Apparently not all that interested in the four humans stuck on the ship, Aldaris turned to his table and started...I think writing something.  Maybe he only meant to keep an eye on us until he could send us away.  In any case, he ignored us when we started talking again.

"I actually liked Heart of the Swarm." Toby piped up.

I turned to him and stared at him with the most dead of eyes.  "Toby, we can't be friends anymore."

"What?  It wasn't that bad.  It was fun to play."

"Gameplay, eh?" Okay, fine, that's a legitimate reason.  I dropped my stare.  "I only like Starcraft for its plot.  I'm not that good at actually playing it."

"So many people left Blizzard that I knew the story wouldn't be any good." Stakus stretched out his legs. "The reviews said that the gameplay was basically the same as the first, so I didn't see any reason to get the new one.  I'm a grown up now, and I've got better things to do than to play games."

"I like Starcraft too much not to.  I had to at least find out what happened." It was sort of cold there, so I hugged my knees.  "At least I had to find out who all the new characters were in case I wanted to do my personality tests again."

"Personality tests?" Toby asked.  "On Starcraft?"

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nitpickery: the Voyage Home

Hey, y'all.  So I got around to watching Star Trek: the Voyage Home again, and even though I have the VHS, I borrowed the DVD to watch.  I was sort of hoping that it would have some sort of difference between it and the VHS, but alas, no scene change.  That's probably for the best, as the slight change made in Star Trek VI was rather jarring.

In any case, the Voyage Home is a continuation of the plot from the previous movie, the Search for Spock.  At the end of that movie, the main crew of the Enterprise was on the planet Vulcan, having just reunited Spock's body with his soul.  They intend to go straight back to Earth so that the crew can turn themselves in for having stolen the Enterprise in the previous film.  Only this time a giant space probe has gotten there ahead of them, and is draining all starships, space stations, and indeed the enter planet's power.  Now storms are brewing on Earth, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.  That is, until Kirk and company, flying their stolen Klingon vessel, figure out that they have to go snatch up some extinct whales from 20th century Earth and bring them back to the future, so that they can tell the probe to go away.

Mishaps and mayhem are the name of the game in this most happy of Star Trek movies, where everyone is just out to have a good time.  Apparently so were the viewers, as this is the Trek film that has made the most money.  With the exception of course of JJ Abram's Star Trek, but since that's not actually Trek it doesn't matter.

Let's get right to it, shall we?

----- Top Ten Things I'll Say about The Voyage Home -----

10.  It's hard to criticize this movie.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Me and Aldaris (p21): Alley-oops!

Aldaris and John were back from trying to make the ship work, and John rejoined our little group of humans on the floor near the window.  Aldaris sat at his table, casting wary glances at the four of us.  Sheesh.  It's not as though we could have done anything in this empty room while he was gone.

"Everything fixed?"  I asked the Protoss.

"All is under control at the moment." Aldaris replied.  

Toby sat up a little straighter.  "So what was wrong with the ship, then?"

Aldaris narrowed his eyes, in that way he always did when someone asked a question that pried too much into his business.  Sheesh, we aren't electrical engineers.  It's not like we know how any of this stuff works.  Aldaris, catching my thought, glared at me before continuing.  

"It is the recall unit.  It malfunctioned, and because the four of you were the last ones to be taken by the recall possessor, your..." Aldaris seemed lost for words, and he gestured a bit as though it would help him think.  Finally, he gave up.  "I do not know the human word for it.  My vessel remembers you, and that allowed the device to summon you in its error."

"Huh...but we're the only ones who have ever been on your ship from Earth." I pointed out.  "It's impossible, presumably, to bring in somebody from your universe.  What if it tried to teleport again after we were all up here?"

"That is precisely what it attempted to do.  Hence the failure." Aldaris shifted in his chair, straightening his posture and lifting his head like a disdainful king.  Charlie tends to do that when he wants to change the subject.  "For the time being, you shall remain here until the recall device is at adequate power to send you home."

Yeah, and he could hardly wait, I bet.  In the meantime, John had already sat down with us again, and Cheonha very professionally poured him more juice.  Seriously, what's with her hostess kick already?

"Yay, so we get to hang out with everyone's favorite cranky reptile." I winked.

Aldaris responded with such a stare that I almost turned to stone.  For real.  "Bethany, perhaps you wanted to rephrase that statement."

I was about to respond with even more sarcasm than before, but I felt my mind blank out -- as though I couldn't get access to my wit.  It was weird...normally I don't feel that way unless I'm up at one in the morning trying to write a story and hyped up on nothing but day old coffee.  Oh wait, there's a seven-century old psychic mastermind sitting there glaring at me with his laser eyes.  That would explain it.

"Uh, what I meant to say was that we get to practice diplomacy by speaking with a highly intelligent foreign politician." I blushed and pointed to the window.  "And that I'm going to go sit over here now and stop saying things."

"That is an improvement." Aldaris nodded.  "Though I doubt that you would keep any promise to remain silent for longer than a a few minutes at a time."

Statkus was starting to get annoyed with Charlie at that point.  He doesn't like it when Aldaris starts getting all "I'm the boss of you" to us, even when I deserve it.  Thankfully, though, Toby's not good at noticing cranky people.  Either that, or he's really good at putting up them.  It's a superpower.

"So Charlie," Toby asked.  "How'd you like Starcraft II?  You never did pick up the disks for Heart of the Swarm.  That bad, eh?"

Before answering, I got a nice second dosage of evil stares from Aldaris.  "Is it your doing that my unfortunate 'nick' name has taken precedence over the proper way of addressing a 'foreign diplomat'?"

I crossed my fingers over my mouth.  Hey, he's the one that didn't want me talking.

"I see." he glared at me a second longer before turning back to Toby.  His face relaxed notably, though probably more because he was tired than anything else.  "I find this 'Wings of Liberty' to be nonsensical.  The portrayal of the Taldarim was most offensive, and though I have learned many dark things of Raynor from your game, it would seem highly out of his nature for him to destroy Protoss of any sort for the sake of profit.  I did not finish it, nor care to."

"Did you get to the part with Zeratul?" I asked, grinning.  Lol, I'm sure Charlie just loved seeing it.

"There it is." Aldaris said, lifting his gaze to me.  "Bethany deceives us with a false promise and breaks her silence.  But to answer you, I have viewed a little of Zeratul's part in it, but no more than his greetings with Raynor, if one may call it that.  Though I doubt I shall like the answer, I ask you this: what more have they done to slander Prelate Zeratul?"

"Oh yes, where he talked to Raynor was pretty stupid.  I burst out laughing when 'I bring tidings of doom'." I cringed at the horror which was Zeratul's dialogue.  "Maybe if Zer's original voice actor hadn't died, he would have stopped them from making Zer such a moron.  Or they would have kicked him out like they did Kerri's voice actress.  Anyway, after he talks to Raynor, Zeratul gives him a memory crystal of some sort, and through it the player can access some additional missions.

"And those missions are insultingly stupid.  Zer and Kerrigan meet up and say some vapid crap that doesn't mean anything, and then Zeratul goes after bits of some prophecy..." I strained my mind to remember. "Sorry, I'm not so good at remembering stupid things.  It basically culminates in a really cheap 'break the cycle of the gods' crap.  Zer then goes to Aiur, where he encounters the rotting corpse of the Overmind and Tassadar's ghost."

Aldaris blinked.  "If I recall your notes correctly, this game is set four years post Brood War.  Surely what was left of that corpse would have rotted by that time."

"Heh." I chuckled.  "See, the thing is, you're using your mind.  Sadly, the writers of this game were not, and Zer gets to have a really stupid conversation with Tassadar about how the Overmind wasn't really evil, but simply following the directive of...something.  I think they're trying to set up the Xel'Naga as evil or something.  And apparently the Overmind was happy to die because that meant he was no longer under the whatever's control, and - "

Aldaris cut me off with a swipe of the hand. "By all means, cease speaking of Starcraft.  I am beyond submitting myself to human prevarications.  It was already clear from 'Wings of Liberty' that I have nothing more to gain from observation."

"Certainly not from Heart of the Swarm." I winced.  "'S terrible."

"Then by your courtesy, do not elaborate."

"Okay then."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nitpickery: Star Trek Nemesis

Hey y'all.  So I was watching the next available Star Trek, which is unfortunately Star Trek: Nemesis.  This is the worst Star Trek movie there is.  As much as I hate JJ Abrams' stuff, and I do, it's arguable that boring is worse than stupid.  And this movie is quite boring.  Even as a child, when one's cognitive abilities aren't in focus yet, I knew that this movie had doomed all of Trek.  I didn't entirely understand why, but I knew that I didn't like it and didn't want to watch it again.

You know how you watch a movie because you wonder if it's really as bad as you remember?  Yeah...that....sometimes you were right the first go-round.  Like with Rocky V, for example.  Yeesh, Adrian was such a nag.

In any case, Nemesis is the story of when all the Next Generation Enterprise crew got together for Deanna Troi's and Will Riker's wedding (or pre-wedding, as there was going to be some sort of ceremony on Deanna's home world), and they are all traveling back to her world which my brain fart prevents me from remembering the name of, and then they get a weird signal from a planet.  This signal leads them to find a Data-like android in the desert, which is somehow transmitting a signal into space even though his body is all in parts and does not appear to have a power source strong enough to reach space. 

Anyway, after this little diversion, the Enterprise gets called in to deal with the Romulans, as they have a new leader and their slave race, the Remans, have gained power.  And the Federation has to negotiate....something.  I don't know what, they just want the Enterprise to go there and do something.  In any case, it turns out that the new leader of the Romulans is a human clone of Captain Picard, made from a discarded attempt for the Romulans to take advantage of the Federation somehow. 

Ugh...I'm having such a hard time summing up the plot.  Nothing makes sense in this movie, so trying to figure out what means what is just nonsensical.  In any case, Picard's clone, Shinzon, toys around with Picard, using the Data replica to capture him and use him to prolong Shinzon's life, because Shinzon will age rapidly if he doesn't get Picard blood.  All of this is simultaneous with some sort of plan to conquer Earth with special radiation, and some crap like that.  It ends with Data dying and the rest of the crew being criminally depressed, but then Data's replica takes his place.  Yay.

Let's get this over with:

----- Ten Things I'll Say about Star Trek Nemesis, Besides that It Sucks and Don't Watch It -----

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nitpickery: The Undiscovered Country

Hey y'all.  Yeah, I know that Undiscovered Country is the sixth Star Trek, and does not come after The Search for Spock.  However, the availability of the movies isn't there.  Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock are on Netflix, and we own Undiscovered Country and Voyage Home on VHS.  Dad said he was in more of a Star Trek VI mood, so here we are.  It's not like I began with The Motion Picture, anyway.

So anyway, Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country is a metaphor for the collapse of the Soviet Union, which happened about the time the movie came out.  This actually makes a lot of sense, as one could argue that the Klingons were influenced possibly by the Soviet Union.  How the Klingons treated certain races certainly reflects how the Soviets treated several smaller countries here on Terra.

Anyway, a Klingon moon blows up, polluting the atmosphere of Qonos, their homeworld.  Kirk is called in to negotiate with the Klingon Chancellor, Gorkon.  However, through bizarre circumstances, the Klingon ship is attacked and Gorkon is killed.  Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy end up captured and sent off to the penal camp Rura Penthe.  Spock must take charge and save them, all without hindering the peace talks between the Federation and Klingons.  Includes a new Vulcan, Valeris, a bird of prey that can fire when cloaked, and lots of Shakespeare quotes

----- Top Ten Comments on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country -----

10. So many offensive lines!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Me and Aldaris (p20): Total Recall

It was a boring night.  I had just finished a whole bunch of Quickbooks homework, and had about forty percent of it left.  Yeah, I'm so looking forward to next semester when I have to do income taxes.  The teacher gives a crap ton of homework, including a discussion board every day.  But that's next semester. For that moment, I was completely done with homework.  I'd been sitting at my kitchen table for the past three hours, and while admittedly some of that I was watching Minecraft Quick Builds, that's way too much time to sit in one place. I stretched and got out of my chair to get some tea.  And then facepalmed.

"Oh crap." I groaned.  "I haven't planned out what I'm writing for November."

You know, National Write a Novel in a Month, where you write 50,000 words for the month of November.  I'm going to win this year!  I swear it!  Or I will if I ever sit down and make plans for what exactly I want to write.  I've got this primary story I'm working on, but there's alternates too, and I want to get my Starcraft choose your own adventure novel on its way to being finished by the end of the year.

"But not now!" I announced to my imaginary audience.  Sheesh, even when I'm not writing these journal entries, I'm talking to you guys.  "Now I...I sleep.  I'm tired."

Actually, I wasn't that tired, but my eyes were starting to hurt from being on the computer so long, and that's kind of like being tired.  It's really hard to think when your eyes are groggy.  But I had so much homework to do, and I wanted to get as much as possible done for November so I wouldn't have to think about it.  I've got a report on franchising to do, and that's not going to take two minutes.  So I lay down on the couch, expecting to just sit with my eyes closed for ten minutes, or at least until my anxiety about getting everything done nagged me into working again.

Well, that's what I intended.  Anxiety had hold for only a minute or two before sleep took over, and off I was on the sleepy train.  I don't know how long it was, but it felt like only a minute later that I was awake.  And instead of having my face half-smushed in the purple cushions, my nose found itself stuck against something cold.  I wasn't sure what it was at first, as it was so dark.  Not completely, though, as after only a few seconds of blinking the cold stuff was obviously a metal floor.

Suddenly something heavy started nudging against my side.

"Get up!  Get up at once!"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nitpickery: The Search for Spock

Hey y'all.  So while I'm on this Star Trek kick, I thought I'd go ahead and review the bona fide sequel for Wrath of Khan.  Now, there's always been a saying for the Star Trek movies, that the even ones are good and the odd ones aren't so good.  While that saying is generally true, and this is the third of the Trek movie series, it's actually a pretty good movie.  Sure, it does have several flaws, but the acting is good, and the story isn't as bad as the Star Wars prequels.  Not even close.

So this movie goes that Spock's father, Sarek, wants to know where his son's katra, or soul, is.  Sarek presumes that Kirk has it, but he doesn't.  Instead they discover that Spock's personality is trapped within McCoy's mind (it's not as off the wall as it sounds) and that McCoy, now appearing crazy, has a sudden desire to go back to the Genesis planet, which was created in the last movie when Khan set off the Genesis device at the end.  The crew of the Enterprise then take their ship illegally out of a space station and head to Genesis, hoping to find out if they can save Spock.  Only now a Klingon who found out about Genesis is in their way, and both Saavik and Kirk's son are caught in the middle.

And now...

----- Ten Things I'll Say about The Search for Spock -----

10.  This movie reverses everything done in the previous one.

A Note on Getting Dates

Hey y'all.  So this blog is for just whenever I find something I want to rant about, and today's rant is about dating.  Specifically, on whether or not a girl should ask a guy out.

I just watched a video where a guy said that girls shouldn't, but they can definitely "put themselves in the way" (make themselves noticeable, I suppose) and question the guy if he's leading them on.  As I was watching this video, I realized something.  Some people might be a bit confused by the wording.  Hence, a bit of nitpickery is necessary.

"Should a woman ask a man out" is the incorrect way to ask this question.  After all, it is neither a sin nor a virtue if a woman goes up to a man and asks if he wants to hangout at Coffee Scene.  The choice the woman is making is neither moral nor immoral, it's what economic people call "nominative".  Like the simple equation 2 + 2 = 4.  This equation does not question if it is morally right for two and two to be four, it merely states that it is.  Likewise, a woman is not deserving to be punished or entitled to a reward for asking a guy out.  It's not a moral question.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nitpickery: The Wrath of Khan

Hey y'all.  So I was thinking about Star Trek a lot, and how I used to be so into it.  Granted, it still amuses me, but I could never be a Trekker.  That, however, doesn't stop me from nitpicking it as much as I want.  And I will do so with this blog.  I shall nitpick what is arguably the best Star Trek thing ever, the Wrath of Khan.

This movie was not one of the ones I saw a lot as a kid.  This is perhaps the primary reason why it's only my third favorite of the Trek movies, behind The Undiscovered Country and Voyage Home. However, it's on Netflix now, and quite frankly I'm astounded at the production quality of it.  Not just the sets and the camera, but the acting is delightful, the sets all work, and the story makes me smile. No wonder half a dozen Trek films have ripped off -- er, "homaged" this film in some way.

But in order to keep this from being the rantiest rant that ever ranted, I'm going to control myself in at least one way.  How so?  Like this:

----- Top Ten Things I'll Say about Star Trek: the Wrath of Khan -----